Monday, April 21, 2008

Who I Used To Be

And so the day comes to a close.  Another ring cut off of the chain.  Soon enough I'll reach another milestone.

When I was in 3rd grade, someone told me that I would graduate from high school in 2004.  At that young age, I couldn't even grasp the actual meaning of a length of time that long.  At that age, that would have meant that I would be in school for about as long as I had already been alive.  then someone told me that 2008 would be the year that I would graduate from college, and I just didn't even try to contemplate that remark.  In my mind, I saw flying cars and jetpacks in 2008.

Well, it's 2008.  Everyone constantly talks about moving on, being a part of the real world, as if everything we have known and experienced up to this point amounts to nothing.  I'd like to think that I've done something worthwhile with my life in the past 22 years.  However, I can even become a follower in this thinking sometimes.

Over the past four years at college I have made and achieved a lot of goals.  Those include learning, earning a degree, making great friends, etc.  Another goal that I made was to forget about everything about my life before college, except for my family.  This goal came out of a tough last year of high school.  Well, if I'm being honest with myself, high school wasn't so kind to me, as it isn't to most people.  The fault may lie in the fact that I had too much hope.  Let me explain.

I never had solid friendships throughout high school.  I knew many people, and many people knew me, but I only had a couple friends that I would hang out with outside school.  This was never much of a problem for me though, because I had a strong group of "best friends" in my youth group.  The end of junior year and all of senior year proved to show me that having hope (or an unhealthy amount of hope) in people can paint an unrealistic picture of the way life is.  When friends moved on to other friends, or churches, or moved on to drugs, my hopes in their perfection and ultimate loyalty to me as a friend were dashed.  Lucky for me, I kept hope.  Even in the midst of changes for the worst in many of my relationships, I was able to smile and keep up my reputation as a silly guy, always smiling and laughing.

Since this happened at the end of senior year, I fooled myself into thinking that it would be the perfect time to move on and start life over again.  Good and bad things have resulted from looking at my move to Nampa in this way.  It's been good that I have been able to find meaning and importance in everything, and to make every moment here at college memorable.  However, I believe that I have been lying to myself and to others about who I really am, or at least who I used to be.

Just like the rest of the world expects to forget about our old life and start anew in "the real world" after college, I forced myself to forget my past and take a stab at maturity.  But denying the past makes a person forget where they came from and what they went through to get where they are today.  I have a bad habit of looking back and seeing the sour moments, the bad decisions, the missed opportunities, but I cheat myself out of all of the good memories that have also made me who I am today.  It was as if I stepped back from the chalkboard of my life at the end of high school, which was full of writing, some good, some bad, and just erased it all.  I didn't take the time to leave the good, I just erased it all.  Sure, it felt good to have a clean slate, but I had to forget myself to start anew.  Was it worth it?

Now that I'm the end of college, I feel like a four year old boy stepping out into a big, scary street with fast cars, rather than a 22 year old man.  I can't rely on everything I've learned in the past four years to support me alone.  There is gold my past; events that have changed things for me and made things the way they are today.  I can't ignore that.  I know I couldn't fathom this day when I was only seven years old, but it's here now, and I managed to get here somehow, if only by the grace of God. In three weeks, three years, three decades, when I am an official member of "the real world"  I want to say that life is good, but I also want to have the wisdom to look back and see that life was also good back in the day.  That I wouldn't be where I am without who I was.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Homework

Took my computer downstairs, woke up at five again.

And my friendly neighborhood spider-man stopped by!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Popcorn Post

-I'm listening to "If Only" by Nouveaux, a contemporary Christian band from the 90s, and thinking to myself about how it's lyrics and four part harmony would be perfect for Covenant to play.  I decide to e-mail it to Marc.

-Katie Wilson calls me while I'm listening to "If Only" by Nouveaux and thinking about Marc and Covenant to see if I can play with her at the Flying M Thursday (which I don't think I can because of work) and she is with Marc.

-I woke up at 5am this morning to work on a homework assignment I'd been putting off.  I set the timer on my coffee maker to go off at five so that I would get up and not be wasteful.  I worked until 12:30pm.  I drank two large mugs of strong coffee, a glass of water, two glasses of cranberry juice, and ate two pieces of toast, a biscotti, and a pack of peanut butter crackers.

-I spent about 9 hours doing that assignment today.  If I hadn't, I wouldn't have graduated.  It was alright though.  I always work better when I wake up early and give the work a new day, rather than staying up late with all that happened during the day.

-I think this is how I'll write someday when it's all I do.  I'll wake up early, let nothing else worry me but the sun rising, the coffee brewing, the jazz jazzin' (I listened to jazz for 6 hours today), and the stories will write themselves.  I'm sure of it.

-I've been telling people lately that I don't let homework get me down.  I haven't been turning it in on a regular basis, but it's been hitting me hard.  When I have late assignments piling up, it drains me.  Every day that goes by takes a little something away from me.  When I do anything other than that assignment with my free time, I can't enjoy it as much as before.  When I sit down to read, I feel guilty.  Food doesn't taste as good.  This could be why I've had a rough semester; I haven't been able to enjoy the things I love.  Homework has been getting me down!

-I'm about halfway through Sometimes A Great Notion.  It's a good book, and I've been reading on a regular basis, almost daily, but it's long.  And not only that, it's more difficult to get through then maybe a... John Grisham book.

-Less than three weeks until graduation.  My family is coming up, it should be fun.  But the point is, that's soon.

-Assignments I have to do in the next three weeks:  write five short stories (good ones too, because I hold myself to unrealistic standards), write two more major papers, and give ten minute presentation.  No biggie.  Just as long as I don't wait and do it late.

-P.S. I made another casserole and it was delicious.  I'm the only one that's eaten any besides Phil, and he only ate it because he was hungry.  He doesn't even like the taste of it.

-Oh and also, here are a few more words for you: uncertainty, graduation, sleep, work, write, eat, laugh, plan, live, apply, deploy, imply, decoy, dirty dishes, messy room, loads of laundry, lava lamp, memories, bible, bird, coffee, music, summer, hockey, and finally, vanilla.

-What I'm lookin' like these days, considering the circumstances:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This Is Funny...

...or it's late.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Making A Move

A lot of people have been asking me recently what my plans are for after graduation.  Well, right now, things are looking unclear.  I thought I would be working at Spicer Brothers Produce, but another job opportunity has come up.  In light of all the confusion however, I have some privileged information for what I'm going to be doing sooner than graduation.  As in Wednesday.

Starting April 9th, right after Kylee's show, I'm moving into the Corlett lobby.

Due to certain circumstances, such as our school not providing us with cable in the dorms and apartments, we only pick up four and a half stations.  That's with the help of our trusty rabbit ears.  That being said, we don't get a pivotal station that, beginning Wednesday, will become very important in my life.  That channel is Versus, and it is of utmost importance due to the fact that the NHL playoffs start in two days on this station.  If you would like to find me, I will be on the couch in the corlett lobby, with a coke in one hand, a sandwich in the other hand, and homework in another.  And I'll be supporting the ANAHEIM DUCKS, so watch out.

Here are my bracket predictions.  Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Power of Story

I'm glad I went to class today.

The class is creative writing, which is probably the closest to what I could say I want a career in someday.  Throughout the course of this semester we're doing ten short stories.  I'm a little bit behind, but I have turned in a few at this point in the class.

Today, the professor chose two stories for us to read out loud and discuss, which we do often (or at least when I have made it to class).  He chose my story about surfing, and I had the privilege of reading it out loud for the class.

I get a little nervous sometimes when I read my work in front of people.  I think it has to do with the fact that I love writing, I think I'm good at it, and if I were to read something I wrote to a disapproving audience, it just might kill me.  It would be terrible if I was not very good at what I want to do for the rest of my life.  So I'm always taking a leap of faith out there by sharing my stories with others.  Obviously, I like it when people give me positive feedback, because that really encourages me. (An example of getting nervous when reading my work:  In creative writing:poetry last year, I had to read some deeply personal poems in front of the class, about four in a row.  I almost didn't make it through the fourth, as my legs started to shake, I started to breathe really fast and thought I would pass out from dizziness.  I had to stop halfway through the poem to catch my breath.)

I read my story out loud today, and it fell upon mixed reviews.  I think that several people didn't necessarily understand the metaphor, or the point that I was trying to make.  Most of the criticism that people gave was good, but I have to draw a line at some point, or else I'll just sacrifice my writing style for what these other people think is right or wrong.  One person actually handed me a copy of my story completely marked up for grammar mistakes.  I looked it over, and this person was adding words and changing sentences left and right.  If I had made all of those changes, it wouldn't have been my story anymore.  It would have been adulterated.

However, there was one person who said some great things about the story.  It was great to hear what she had to say, because she really did understand what I was trying to say.  She read sections out loud that she especially liked, and she sounded so happy about certain parts of the story.  When people are truly appreciative like she was, it reminds me of why I write.  Because I love to write, I love to write, and stories have the power to bring people together.  Some of the greatest authors and speakers of our time became great because of their skill in using metaphors and analogies, and good stories.  I hope that I can always use the power of story, because I feel that it is a gift God has given me to do good work for his kingdom.